Fingerprint Clearance Cards and Good Cause Exceptions
What is a fingerprint clearance card and why should I care?
A fingerprint clearance card is a clearance provided by Arizona Department of Public Safety determining the suitability of certain candidates for particular professions and activities that are regulated. There are two different types of fingerprint clearance cards: (1) Level 1 Clearance Card and (2) Standard Fingerprint Clearance Cards. A Level 1 Clearance Card is more restrictive and more difficult to obtain as there are more types of criminal charges that would cause a denial of the Card.
In Arizona, many professions and activities require you to have a fingerprint clearance card. Examples of jobs and activities requiring fingerprint clearance cards include: professionals regulated by the Board of Dental examiners; Charter School Employment; Child Day Care; Domestic Violence Shelter employment; Home Inspector Certification; Physical Therapists; Real Estate Licensure; School Bus Drivers; Teacher Certifications; nursing schools; and adoptions. Depending on the profession, you may be required to apply for a Level 1 Clearance Card while others only require the standard fingerprint clearance card. If you are uncertain what clearance card you need, DPS lists the type of card you need on their website here.
However, if your criminal history shows any offense whether it be an attempted, solicitation, facilitation, or conspiracy to commit an offense under ARS § 41-1758.03 or ARS § 41-1758.07, you will be denied a fingerprint clearance card. If, on the other hand, your criminal history does not show any one of these charges, you will be given a fingerprint clearance card. If your conviction falls under Paragraph B of either ARS § 41-1758.03 or ARS § 41-1758.07, you are precluded from applying for a good cause exception. If your conviction falls under Paragraph C of ARS § 41-1758.03 or ARS § 41-1758.07, you may petition the board for a good cause exception.
Is there an exception to the denial or suspension of the card?
If you received a letter of denial for a fingerprint clearance card or you received a suspension letter of your fingerprint clearance card due to criminal allegations, a criminal charge or a conviction, you may have the right to apply for a good cause exception in Arizona. A good cause exception will be issued if the applicant can show that he/she is rehabilitated and not a recidivist. If an applicant is not approved through an expedited review within twenty days of the application, an applicant may receive a hearing notice. The applicant is entitled to have a representative at the hearing. During the hearing, the board will consider the following criteria pursuant to ARS § 41-619.55 before granting a good cause exception:
- The extent of the person’s criminal record.
- The length of time that has elapsed since the offense was committed.
- The nature of the offense.
- Any applicable mitigating circumstances.
- The degree to which the person participated in the offense.
- The extent of the person’s rehabilitation, including:
- Completion of probation, parole, community supervision.
- Whether the person paid restitution or other compensation for the offense.
- Evidence of positive action to change criminal behavior, such as competition of drug treatment program or counseling.
- Personal references attesting to the person’s rehabilitation.
If your fingerprint clearance card was suspended or denied, feel free to contact Castillo Law to determine whether the assistance of an attorney may be of benefit to you. At Castillo Law our attorneys are highly trained, experienced and have successfully obtained a number of good cause exceptions for fingerprint clearance cards.